By Mary O’KEEFE and
For just a few minutes on Monday, time stopped in Crescenta Valley. Flags waved in the wind, soldiers saluted and taps played. For a just a few minutes people on both sides of the political aisle took time to remember those who served and died in service of their country. No debates, no protests, just quiet remembrance and honor.
Memorial Day remembrance at Two Strike Park began with Crescenta Valley High School JROTC presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem.
About 150 people walked to the park near the Memorial Wall. The sidewalk was lined with the names of men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. “Observances like this are happening in communities across America, but there can never be too many,” said Ken Jury, a veteran and keynote speaker.
He read a story about a soldier who was stationed at a military cemetery. A woman had walked from grave to grave to decorate those in her family that she had lost in wars. From her father and uncle to her husband and sons, “All killed in action. All Marines.”
Jury reminded the audience that it was the families that were left behind that should be honored as well for their service and sacrifice.
“We do this not just because it is right for veterans but it is what their fallen brothers and sisters would want,” he said. He then quoted William Shakespeare’s “Henry V.”
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”
Veteran Lynn McGinnis read the names of those from Crescenta Valley that served and died. And Taps was played.
In nearby Montrose another remembrance was being held at the Vietnam memorial at Ocean View Boulevard and Honolulu Avenue.
The Vietnam Memorial in Montrose Shopping Park had a few more names added to it this Memorial Day weekend. The corner of Honolulu and Ocean View was crowded on Monday morning up and down both sides of the corner, the viewing public focused on the podium stationed behind the plaque bearing the names of fallen soldiers from the foothills.
Members of Crescenta Valley High’s JROTC marched from across the street as part of the flag ceremony, which was carried on in respectful silence.
The flag was raised to half-staff in honor of the fallen soldiers.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, several speakers, including Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman, CV Town Council President Cheryl Davis, L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Montrose Shopping Park Association President Dale Dawson delivered speeches on the sacrifices made by veterans and fallen soldiers.
However no speech was more stirring than the reading of the names by Air Force Sgt. Kevin Traber. Traber recited the names of the fallen soldiers from the Crescenta-Cañada area, each name punctuated by a single, solemn ringing of a bell.
The ceremony ended with the playing of Taps, the staple of military funerals.
Over in La Cañada Flintridge at Memorial Park, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, politicians and others gathered to honor many veterans. Standing proudly in front of the crowd, each veteran was introduced. Many had an opportunity to share their stories, some dating back to World War II.
One soldier present, MC Hill, served in World War II. “I fell four miles in a B-29 airplane and we came out of it just before we hit the ground. That was the worst,” he recounted to the awestruck audience.
Throughout the foothills, the sentiment of gratitude was shared in a quiet, common phrase: “Thank you.”
Maddy Pumilia contributed to this story